Celtics were pretty beat up by the time they were eliminated - Ray had bone spurs in both ankles and Paul was on a bum knee. Not to mention the Celtics had no consistency offensively from their bench and were relying on the likes of Ryan Hollins and Greg Stiemsma to spell KG. Beating Miami would have been a wild accomplishment. Pushing them to seven was pretty impressive. OKC would have been a challenge.
2012 is so funky because so much went wrong in the summer - Chris Paul, David West, Jeff Green - and quite a few useful players went down at the worst time - Avery Bradley, Chris Wilcox, Jermaine O'Neal. And yet, a lot of things also went right for the Celtics. The lockout-shortened season saved their stamina and several players' injuries helped their playoff run. First, it was Al Horford (
), who was out for most of the season until Game 4 of the first round of Hawks/Celtics, then it was Derrick Rose's ACL tear, then Chris Bosh was out with the abdomen strain until game 5 of the ECF. A lot could have been different if just one of those guys had been healthy.
There are a lot of what-ifs surrounding 2012...